These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he who stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
-Thomas Paine, The Crisis
Precisely a year ago, in honor of my 35th birthday, Dad and I took a trip over to the Titan Missile Museum in Sahuarita, AZ about 5 minutes from where my parents live. Therein you get a guided tour of a silo housing an LGM-25C Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile, part of the US nuclear deterrent from 1963 to 1987.
As you can see, there’s not much aboveground – that tan thing in the foreground there is the enclosure that seals off the top of the silo. Everything else is museum.
In December 2015, four days after I got out of the Army and flew down to my parents’ place in Arizona, they took me out to Sabino Canyon, just outside of Tucson. Despite it being December, it was fairly temperate in the 70s because of the arid climate. I got told to watch for rattlesnakes sunning themselves. In December.
Four days earlier, I was freezing my ass off waiting for a bus in Missouri. Yeah.
|Photoblogging, Trips||Comments (0)|
As I think everyone reading here knows, my aborted Army career was brief and altogether unspectacular, but as three month stretches of time go basic training left a large impression on me.
One of those moments from basic goes like this:
We had a Drill Sergeant, a particularly intense and hardcore infantryman like many of the best Drill Sergeants are, who used to read us Medal of Honor citations over the intercom at lights out about once per week. They ran the gamut from MSG Roy Benavidez and 2LT Audie Murphy to some lesser known men. They also included MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randy Shughart, whose stories are known to anyone who’s seen or read Black Hawk Down.
Always, he would end reading those citations with some variation on “Privates, be like these men.”
Now, that’s pretty inspiring stuff, albeit somewhat usual for basic training. What pushes it over the top is this: On Veteran’s Day of 2015, we as a company sat down in the classroom, in our uniforms, and watched among other things Black Hawk Down, in which Gordon and Shughart feature prominently. I’ve seen it many times since the movie came out, but never like this.
Now, as I said, I wasn’t much of a soldier as soldiers go. I washed out pretty early on. Had I made it out of AIT I would have been in the rear with the gear pretty much always. But I made choices to get there, I stood up and raised my hand and swore an oath. And sitting there in that classroom in uniform with a flag on my shoulder, with 140+ people who raised their hands and took the same oath, you ask yourself: AM I like these men? Could I get off of a helicopter in the middle of a crowd of armed hostiles in a probably vain attempt to save a man, knowing that it would probably result in my death?
I dunno. And I’ll probably never be in a position to find out. But hearing the words of their deeds and seeing even a fictionalized representation on screen makes you think. I’ve got to live up to this uniform and this flag and these people next to me who have carried me as I have tried to carry them at times. I’ve at least got to try. Maybe I did, a little, in my way.
Privates, be like these men.
I think about that a lot.
|History and Politics, Random and Ravings||Comments (0)|
So, one of the things Dad got for Christmas was a 3D printer. And in the process of figuring out what to do with it, it occurred to us that Blender could make the files that this printer needs to print stuff. If only there were somebody around with a copy of Blender and a stash of files to use.
So first we said “Hey, can it do a sword from Oblivion?” Well, sure it can. It’s right up there. That’s sort of neat, but we should think bigger.
So we did.
|Computer Games - Elder Scrolls Series, Photoblogging, Tech||Comments (2)|